Joe Root’s maiden Test century was the highlight for England on an intriguing second day at Headingley.
The 22-year-old became the first Yorkshireman to score his maiden international hundred at the ground with an excellent knock of 104 and his stand of 124 with county teammate Jonny Bairstow helped bat England into a strong position by the close.
New Zealand had gone into lunch very much on top with the score at 67/3, but England’s youngsters batted maturely under pressure to rescue things for the hosts.
While Root will rightly take the majority of the plaudits, Bairstow also played very well for his 64 and will be bitterly disappointed not to have also got to three figures in front of a vociferous home crowd.
Root’s eventual dismissal, edging Trent Boult’s first delivery with the new ball through to Brendan McCullum, prompted a small wobble from England as they lost both Bairstow and Stuart Broad in quick succession.
However Matt Prior, bouncing back from his pair at Lord’s, and Graeme Swann, batted sensibly and proactively against a tired New Zealand attack, bringing up their fifty partnership and taking England through to 337/7 at the close.
It was an important partnership that ensured England made the most of the good work done by their young Yorkshire stars and it puts the home side in a strong position going into day three, which promises to be another fascinating day of Test match cricket.